SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — In an effort to expand access to its content, Facebook announced that it will be adding closed captioning to Facebook Live to make videos more accessible to people with hearing loss.

According to Facebook, not all Live videos will have closed captions, but publishers can deploy captions for content broadcast on the site. This feature is available already on Facebook for videos that are not live-streamed.

With hearing loss affecting 30 million people in the US, along with an estimated 360 million people worldwide, Facebook wants to make its video content more accessible for the nearly 2 billion active users of the social media site across the globe.

 

“It’s absolutely an imperative for the deaf and hard of hearing community so our hope really is that we can continue to build more and more tools in the captioning space that increase the amount of videos that have captioning both real time and otherwise,” Jeffrey Wieland, Director of Accessibility, in comments to USA Today

 

While closed captioning has been mandatory for television for many years, although it has never been mandated for the internet, which limits access to online video content for people with hearing loss. According to Facebook, they have actually found users to be more engaged with content that includes captions.

Facebook has allowed publishers to include captions on their videos since 2014 by including a text file when uploading the video, and they can also opt to use the company’s speech recognition service that will auto-generate captions.

The company says it’s in the process of exploring ways to improve captioning for video content to improve the user experience.

 

Source: USA Today

One Response to Facebook Live Now Offering Closed Captioning for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Users

  1. This is great news for everybody who uses captions. However, enormous improvements need to be made in automated subtitling in order to ensure quality is kept. Improvements could come in the form of vastly improved voice recognition, better artificial intelligence for writing standards or adding an option for ‘human’ editing after captions are added.

    There is a huge difference between the quality of subtitles that are automatically generated versus those that are written by professionals. Captions that don’t make sense and are riddled with mistakes can actually make video content even harder to access.

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